Iris Taylor moves to Austin, TX to live with her half brother Sonny, since she lost all her ties to Florida - her mother and grandmother have passed away and her other brother Will has joined the Army and is stationed in Japan. Sonny, a member of the Widows MC, gets her a job at Pins and Needles, a tattoo shop owned by Dex Locke, a "Dick" of monumental proportions from the moment Iris meets him. Iris has her secrets, and issues with getting close to people, but troubles with her loser father leads her to depending on the Widows, and she realizes that family doesn't have to be only the ones you can't choose, but the ones you can.
One of the best features of this story for me is that it isn't a cliffhanger, or a novella, but a full novel with a beginning, middle and end that takes its time to develop the relationships within.
I wasn't sure what to think when I started reading this "biker" romance, since my experience has been hit or miss. Biker romances are usually dependent on a couple of things: the action/plot overriding actual character development and the shock factor - a world so different from your typical romance novel reader that it's like a train wreck that you can't look away from (Madeline Sheehan's Undeniable series comes to mind as one of the better examples of this).
Additionally, some biker heroes land on the wrong side of alpha a-holes and I end up disliking one or both of the leads. I am very happy to say that I really enjoyed getting to know Iris and Dex, as well as the other characters that populate this story.
Dex could have been well over the line of alpha a-holes, but through first his friendship with Iris, and eventually his love, the development of his character elevates him from the one-dimensional lead he could have been. Iris could have easily been a very frustrating heroine, yet she rides the line as well and there isn't a moment throughout that I felt played false or didn't make sense based on her history, which is revealed bit by bit.
While the secondary characters aren't as fully developed as Dex and Iris, the seeds are there and I can easily see this being a series - a series I'd be eager to read.
The Just Okay
While I enjoy the fact that time is taken to develop the characters, there could have been some mild editing to tighten the story and to fix some very minor grammatical/spelling errors - though to be fair I have seen much worse, so this is a minor quibble. The obstacle/major angst portion of the plot involving the father isn't as strong as the romance and the resolution of that plot point was almost an afterthought.
The Bottom Line
I was pleasantly surprised by this story and I'd recommend it for those who really like character driven instead of action-packed books. I'm looking forward to seeing more from Ms. Zapata.